Session 5-06: The Storylines of Men, Part 2 - Bëor, Amlach, and (possibly) Hador

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I don’t agree that they atrophy while they’re in peacetime as the Professor suggests. If their skills atrophied, why would they take a position at the front lines if they’re going to be ill-prepared or useless? I have a problem with the House of Beor going to Nargothrond but it appears that the Professor is dead-set on it.
He could argue that the Elves give them a crash course in fighting. It could take just a mere decade or so. But I am fairly convinced that he’d agree that they should have some basic fighting skill, and know how to use a few weapons, at least through hunting (even if that isn’t exactly the same).
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I did not get the impression that he was suggesting that their skills atrophied, but rather that they lived a softer life in Nargothrond than the House of Haleth did in the wild. The House of Beor won't be actively fighting Orcs, but this doesn't mean the people won't be making and learning to use weapons. When they leave their sheltered life with the Elves, they will see more clearly the threat of Morgoth and probably participate in more real fighting, so they will become a more militaristic culture than they were in Nargothrond. Even if they are a bit softer when they first leave Nargothrond, they wouldn't be leaving at a time of active war, so it's not like they would be marching right out into battle. They would have time to train before they saw actual combat.

The Professor very clearly said that he was not dead-set on the House of Beor going to Nargothrond. He wants the House of Beor to live directly with the Elves and seem restricted by their environment out of the Elves' desire to protect and provide for them.
If the House of Beor is living directly with the Elves, how would they not be aware of death from old age until Beor dies?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
There are obviously several challenges with having the House of Bëor moved into Nargothrond with the elves, but I think that limiting the size of the House mitigates these challenges considerably.

Moving thousands of people into a 'secret' stronghold secretly might seem difficult, but moving a large family/clan of 50-100 people is much less challenging. After all, Finrod moved all those elves in, and there was coming and going from Doriath during the construction of Nargothrond and for Galadriel's wedding. It's not even going to seem like a challenge to viewers, based on what they've already seen, for Nargothrond to get some mortal 'visitors'. It gives us an opportunity to showcase the security measures in place on the Guarded Plain and the area around Nargothrond. And of course shows how Finrod's personality makes his 'secret' realm very different from Gondolin or Doriath. He loves everyone, and...that shows.

Also, the death of Bëor being unique means that no other Men can die of old age before Bëor does. If he's one of thousands...seems a little unlikely that the leader would just so happen to go first. If he's one of 50-100 people, half of whom were likely children when they met the elves, it's not unusual that he's the first to grow old and die (even if he does live to be a nonagenarian.) This does mean no deaths of childhood illness, probably, which would be very unusual...but in Tolkien's work, plagues are associated with Morgoth/Sauron and there is always the chance that they are actually protected from such things by living with the elves in Nargothrond, somehow. Elves aren't going to be carrying human diseases, so the typical risks of travelling to a new place wouldn't be present. I'm fine with Men getting sick and the Elves being surprised by this, but I would want Bëor to be the first one to actually die (unless we want like one 'accidental death' to show that not all is perfect in paradise to lead up to that).

I realize that deciding to move them to Nargothrond was more of the 'default' of where we ended up rather than the goal. The strong desire was to have Bëor and his entire people live with Finrod and his people, together in a single society, where the Men learn from the Elves and fill a bit of a subservient role (perpetual students/children rather than hired help, but still). Given the desire for that sort of storyline...the obvious setting is Nargothrond, because that is where Finrod lives. That was always going to be Bëor's story; now it's the People of Bëor's story as well. The advantage here is that we don't have Bëor in Nargothrond, some of the House of Bëor in Estolad, and yet others of their House in Dorthonion. We give the audience time to get to know them as one group of people and don't split them up. That does serve the purpose of both streamlining and highlighting the story we are trying to tell about 'Men who live with Elves' with this group of people.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Yes, keeping the House together helps a lot with the "disposable" Men here. It's easier to treat the whole House as a character if the whole House stays together.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I guess I’m the stick in the mud...
I would not describe you as a stick in the mud. That is someone who gets 'stuck' on an idea, and doesn't want to shift. Instead, you are trying to figure out the implications of a new idea, and aren't too sure you like them until everything is resolved. In other words, you want to work out the kinks and solve the problems before declaring a new idea a good idea. I think that approach is certainly a valid one, and at the very least, it ensures that the problems you perceive are considered and addressed, right?

So, you definitely see it as a problem for a group to go from coddled peaceful existence --> frontline fighting. And I agree, that doesn't sound like it would work out very well. But I think the point of their story is that they adapt, so within a couple of generations, they're not the same people any more. We will likely want Barahir to be born in Dorthonion, not Nargothrond, so he grows up in the 'frontier' setting, not the 'peaceful' setting.

One of the challenges of Men vs Elves is 'passing on' traits/skills/knowledge/viewpoints to the next generation. Elves just live through everything and accumulate knowledge as they go. They don't need to worry too much about schools or apprenticeships or history books - plenty of opportunities over their long lives to experience everything personally and learn the whole body of knowledge of their people/culture at leisure (well, except in time of war, which the First Age is about to become). But for Men, whatever you don't transmit to the next generation is lost, as the entire older generation dies off and the collective memory of the past is lost. The story of the House of Bëor will certainly have the opportunity to bring that up -- being locked away in Nargothrond keeps them safe, yes, but the children who were born there have no memory of the journey to get there and no personal experience with fighting. Unlike the elves who live there, who personally were involved in battles before moving there.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I would not describe you as a stick in the mud. That is someone who gets 'stuck' on an idea, and doesn't want to shift. Instead, you are trying to figure out the implications of a new idea, and aren't too sure you like them until everything is resolved. In other words, you want to work out the kinks and solve the problems before declaring a new idea a good idea. I think that approach is certainly a valid one, and at the very least, it ensures that the problems you perceive are considered and addressed, right?

So, you definitely see it as a problem for a group to go from coddled peaceful existence --> frontline fighting. And I agree, that doesn't sound like it would work out very well. But I think the point of their story is that they adapt, so within a couple of generations, they're not the same people any more. We will likely want Barahir to be born in Dorthonion, not Nargothrond, so he grows up in the 'frontier' setting, not the 'peaceful' setting.

One of the challenges of Men vs Elves is 'passing on' traits/skills/knowledge/viewpoints to the next generation. Elves just live through everything and accumulate knowledge as they go. They don't need to worry too much about schools or apprenticeships or history books - plenty of opportunities over their long lives to experience everything personally and learn the whole body of knowledge of their people/culture at leisure (well, except in time of war, which the First Age is about to become). But for Men, whatever you don't transmit to the next generation is lost, as the entire older generation dies off and the collective memory of the past is lost. The story of the House of Bëor will certainly have the opportunity to bring that up -- being locked away in Nargothrond keeps them safe, yes, but the children who were born there have no memory of the journey to get there and no personal experience with fighting. Unlike the elves who live there, who personally were involved in battles before moving there.
Well, if we have them go from Nargothrond (and I am still not onboard with that) to Dorthonion, why Dorthonion? It’s on the front lines and at that point they’d be cannon fodder.

I am very concerned with how things fit together and how much they resemble the original story (see the new thread on Adaptations in the General Discussion), having seen adaptations that have failed at doing both. What changes we make have to make sense on some level, otherwise it looks disjointed (this is one of the biggest criticisms of the final season of Game of Thrones).

 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
You are not cannon fodder on the front lines if there is not a war going on. They move there during the Long Peace. And yes, in the end, they *do* get wiped out there. Barahir's band is killed, leaving Beren as the sole survivor and Dorthonion empty. Presumably, they move to Dorthonion because they want to be there, in a more 'active' place than they were safely tucked away in Nargothrond.

How many generations do you think it would take to transform them from a people living in peace to a people ready for fighting? With the understanding that they have been training with Elves in both Nargothrond and Dorthonion all along?


Timeline considerations:

At the moment, here are the order of events that we would be telling in our story:

  1. Bëor meets Finrod
  2. Bëor's people move to Nargothrond
  3. Haleth at the Stockade
  4. Haleth's people move to Brethil
  5. Council.
  6. Bereg's people go east. Amlach goes to Himring. Hador's people go to Dor-lomin.
  7. Adanel and young Andreth get the House of Bëor to move to Dorthonion (Ladros)

I'm not clear on where, exactly, the death of Bëor needs to fall in the story, but before the Council, certainly. The desire to push Andreth earlier into the timeline (and keep her on screen as long as possible) suggests that we'll keep her as Barahir's aunt rather than as his older sister. So, at this point, we have a full two generations being born and growing up in Dorthonion prior to the Dagor Bragollach. Is that sufficient, do you think?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
You are not cannon fodder on the front lines if there is not a war going on. They move there during the Long Peace. And yes, in the end, they *do* get wiped out there. Barahir's band is killed, leaving Beren as the sole survivor and Dorthonion empty. Presumably, they move to Dorthonion because they want to be there, in a more 'active' place than they were safely tucked away in Nargothrond.

How many generations do you think it would take to transform them from a people living in peace to a people ready for fighting? With the understanding that they have been training with Elves in both Nargothrond and Dorthonion all along?


Timeline considerations:

At the moment, here are the order of events that we would be telling in our story:

  1. Bëor meets Finrod
  2. Bëor's people move to Nargothrond
  3. Haleth at the Stockade
  4. Haleth's people move to Brethil
  5. Council.
  6. Bereg's people go east. Amlach goes to Himring. Hador's people go to Dor-lomin.
  7. Adanel and young Andreth get the House of Bëor to move to Dorthonion (Ladros)

I'm not clear on where, exactly, the death of Bëor needs to fall in the story, but before the Council, certainly. The desire to push Andreth earlier into the timeline (and keep her on screen as long as possible) suggests that we'll keep her as Barahir's aunt rather than as his older sister. So, at this point, we have a full two generations being born and growing up in Dorthonion prior to the Dagor Bragollach. Is that sufficient, do you think?
Why would Andreth be making that call? Wouldn’t it be her father Boromir who makes that choice?
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Why would Andreth be making that call? Wouldn’t it be her father Boromir who makes that choice?
As daughter of Boromir and a wise-woman-in-training, she would presumably have a lot of influence over decisions like that. Although she wouldn't make the call, Andreth could suggest the idea to Boromir and play a large role in convincing the rest of the house that they should move.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
We are telling Andreth's story. We are not telling Boromir's story. So, while Boromir may be the leader who ultimately makes the decision, it's Andreth's story we are focusing on, so she definitely needs to be advocating this move and trying to make it happen. We're going to see the decision to move through her viewpoint, and hear her thoughts on the subject before, during, and after it happens. She is the catalyst.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
How many generations do you think it would take to transform them from a people living in peace to a people ready for fighting?
Less than one. We turn people who have never even had a fist fight into professional soldiers in a matter of weeks. A qualified person can be considered amongst the top 1% of combatants in the world with only a few years of training.
 
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